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Death of an idea

Postmodernism is finished in philosophy. After 9/11 the denial of objective reality looks neither daring nor clever

By Julian Baggini   September 2002

Postmodernism is dead, finally killed off after years of sickness as a result of mortal injuries sustained on 11th September 2001.

Ideas don’t just die, of course. Intellectual fashions come and go but even at their nadir, there remain traces, legacies and adherents who keep the faith. So postmodernists still exist and postmodernism’s influence can still be felt. Nevertheless, philosophically speaking, postmodernism is a spent force.

To justify this diagnosis, it is important to distinguish between postmodernism as an artistic, cultural and social phenomenon and postmodernism as a philosophical position. In the arts, as Lois McNay puts it in the…

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